Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 149 – On Stage

Elliott Lewis

Elliott Lewis

Something a little different this week but still within the crime genre. In 1953, Cathy & Elliott Lewis created a radio vehicle called On Stage. They would portray equally strong male and female roles within the genre of comedy, classical and suspense. Some were particularly hard hitting as the scripts came from the cream of the radio writing crop. This episode is called “Eddie” and is a psychological thriller of sorts about the gradual devolution of a man who thinks he is in love with a woman he just met resulting in tragic consequences. It is well written, well performed and still makes me shudder when I hear it.

Music under is “Autumn in New York” performed by Chet Baker

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 148 – Sherlock Holmes

Anthony Boucher

Anthony Boucher

This podcast I return to one of the most famous detectives in fiction, Sherlock Holmes. I wanted to have a look not so much for the great detective as much as the Anthony Boucher – Denis Green years. It was during their run that with the blessing of estate of Conan Doyle, the stories were originals beyond the Holmesian canon. I look at one episode and some of the issues they faced in trying to stay true to the story, yet trying to make the episodes their own. Boucher especially, a member of one of the many Sherlockian fan groups, acted as guardian of the canon as he created stories of his own. You’ll hear “The Adventure of the Paradol Chamber” an interesting one because it combined Boucher’s interest in Holmes and Science Fiction.

Music under is “My Ideal” performed by the Art Tatum Group

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 147 – “The Burning Court”

Charlie Ruggles

Charlie Ruggles

This week’s podcast looks at John Dickson Carr’s The Burning Court adapted for radio by Harold Medford for the Suspense radio series. It was the premier episode of the series which began in 1942. Carr was one of the premier mystery writers of the “locked room mystery” in the forties, but with elements that went beyond Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie and others of the period. Carr added an element of the supernatural, but believed that all things could be resolved by logic. The Burning Court was one of his novels that did not feature a primary detective in the role of solver of a crime. This adaptation is very well done and though not written by Carr, who did write some adaptations of his stories for radio as well as original plays.  Charlie Ruggles, well known as a comedic actor is well out of type for this episode.

Music under is the theme from Body Heat by John Barry.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 146 – “The Fallen Sparrow”

Dorothy B. Hughes

Dorothy Hughes

The last adaptation of my look at Dorothy B. Hughes, mystery writer from the forties. This radio adaptation is based on the film “The Fallen Sparrow” starring John Garfield. The adaptation is from the Lux Radio Theater. Not as good as the previous podcast, but it gives another look into the types of characters and situations, this writer created.

This version stars Robert Young as Kit.

Music under is by Jazz At the Movies.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 145 – “In a Lonely Place”

Robert Montgomery

Robert Montgomery

The start of a two podcast look at somewhat forgotten pioneer of the psychological thriller – Dorothy B. Hughes. Hughes was a mystery writer from the forties into the fifties and beyond, but her peak power was in the late forties. In a Lonely Place was one of her best novels – a psychological murder mystery inside the mind of the possible killer. She pre-dated better known writers such as Jim Thompson, whose The Killer Inside Me is well recognized. Hughes was a superb writer and this Suspense adaptation starring Robert Montgomery was written by Irving Ravetch, who is known for creating the screenplays The Long Hot Summer, Hud, Hombre, and Norma Rae. This episode is one hour long.

Music under is “I Only Have Eyes For You” performed by Andre Previn Trio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 144 – Encore Theater

Mutual Broadcasting microphone


A slightly different crime story this week.  Encore Theater was a program the Mutual Broadcasting System sustained in the late forties to provide an opportunity for listeners to hear again dramatic episodes they heard on other programs and according to Mutual were the “best liked radio plays selected” by listeners. This episode is called “Balzac Murder” and was heard originally on the Carrington Playhouse in 1946. Elaine Carrington, called “Queen” Carrington for her “reign” as one of soap operas better known scripters created the series. However, these were not “soap” type programs. “Balzac Murder” is actually a very well written court room drama with flashbacks  by Joseph Cochran.  I think you’ll find the play fascinating (if you can get past the rather melodramatic organ bridge pieces). This play stars Raymond Edward Johnson as the Prosecutor.

Music under is the Nocturne in E Minor from the Grand Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra by Frederic Chopin.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 143 – Hot Copy

Betty Lou Gerson

Betty Lou Gerson

This time I look at a little known and rare radio program from 1942-1944 which focused on the newspaper reporter as detective. In this case, a female detective, Anne Rogers, who writes a column for a reputable newspaper. Anne finds herself involved in crime solving with the help of her foil Sgt. Flannigan. Scriptwriter was the noted Science Fiction writer, Nelson Bond. This episode of Hot Copy is called “Death Studies in Angles” from February 27th, 1944.  Though there were 3 actresses who played Anne Rogers, this episode features Betty Lou Gerson (right) in the role.

Music under is Andre Previn Trio: the tune is “One For Bunz.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 142 – “After Dinner Story”

Otto Kruger

Otto Kruger

This week a visit with Cornell Woolrich and the radio adaptation of his noirish horror story “After Dinner Story” as heard over the radio series Suspense. Woolrich was the master of creating tension out of the commonplace and while not completely faithful to the original story, this is still a very well done adaptation with script by Robert L. Richards. Otto Kruger (right) starred in the role and is positively scary as the man who holds life and death in his hands.

Music under is Coyote Moon by Ben Tavera King.

Special thanks to Cameron Estepp

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 141 – Tales of Fatima

Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone

Having decided not to renew his contracts for Sherlock Holmes, Basil Rathbone longed to be on the legitimate stage. He and his wife left Hollywood behind and moved to New York. While he did achieve some success initially, he also began to falter in his career. To supplement his income he starred in a short-lived radio series called Tales of Fatima. In this radio series, he played himself as an actor who gets involved in solving murder mysteries. But the series was coming late to radio and as television was gradually pulling revenues away from radio, the series faltered and left the air by the end of the summer of 1949.

Music under is by Phillip Glass and Michael Riesman.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 140 – Inspector Mark Saber

Robert CarrollThe series Inspector Mark Saber is in a sense the grand-child of the original Molle’ Mystery Theater.  In this podcast, you’ll meet Inspector Mark Saber, portrayed on radio by actor Robert Carroll (at right as he appeared as Patrick Henry). Saber is a somewhat aloof, seemingly all-known detective of a large city homicide division. The series appeared on radio in its waning dramatic days and came to the medium in a rather circuitous way from the original Mystery Theater.

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